BREAKING: Israel And Hamas Reach Gilad Shalit Prisoner Exchange Deal

From Israeli PM Netanyahu’s twitter account earlier this evening:

Ha’aretz elaborates:

Israel and Hamas have reached a prisoner exchange deal that will secure the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, officials at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that “a brief window of opportunity has been opened that would possibly lead to Gilad Shalit’s homecoming,” adding: “The window appeared following fears that collapsing Mideast regimes and the rise of extremist forces would make Gilad Shalit’s return impossible.”

The officials’ comment came following a report by Al-Arabiya, according to which a deal has indeed been reached between Israel and Hamas geared at the release of the IDF soldier, in Hamas captivity in Gaza since 2006.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are meeting several ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office in order to pressure them into voting for the deal, with Netanyahu aides estimating that the deal will be approved by the cabinet,

Special attention is reportedly being given to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman no to vote against the deal along with ministers from his Yisrael Beiteinu party. Several Likud ministers who have voiced opposition to freeing terrorists in exchange for Shalit are also being pushed to approve the deal.

Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting scheduled for later Tuesday in which ministers are to discuss the status of talks geared at securing Shalit’s release.

Speaking with Haaertz, one Egyptian official said: “After 64 months of tough negotiations we were able to complete the deal. It was a very difficult task, which included thousands of hours of negotiations.”

Also on Tuesday, top Egyptian officials confimed to Haaretz that there had been significant progress in the attempts to strike a prisoner exchange deal that would lead to Shalit’s release.

The officials confirmed that an Israeli delegation, headed by the head of Shalit negotiations David Meidan, was in Cairo to indirectly discuss the details of a possible deal with the chief of Hamas’ military wing Ahmed Al-Jabari.

Similarly to previous rounds of Shalit talks, the indirect talks are overseen by Egyptian intelligence, headed by intelligence chief General Murad Muwafi and his aides.

Egyptian officials have also said that a the deal which has been reached in recent days also includes accused Israeli spy Ilan Garpal.

According to Al Arabiya, the deal will be implemented in November and chief Hamashole Khaled Meshaal is expected to deliver “an important address” in two hours (the report was already from over two hours ago).

Hamas television has reported that as many as 1,000 Palestinian prisoners would be released as part of the arrangement.

I’m glad Gilad is likely coming home but 1,000 terrorists? Oy gevalt.


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Updates (Israel time; latest from top)

11:40PM: Israel’s army radio, as well as Channels 2 and 10, are reporting that Barghouti and Saadat are NOT on the list of prisoners to be released. Here’s hoping this proves to be true.

10:50PM: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks at the opening of the special cabinet meeting today:

Today, I bring a proposal to the Government for a deal that will bring Gilad Shalit home alive and well; bring him home to his parents Aviva and Noam, his brother Yoel, his sister Hadas, his grandfather Zvi, and the entire people of Israel. Two and a half years ago, when the government was formed, I took upon myself, as my first priority, to bring Gilad home to his people, to his family – to bring him home safe and sound.

At the time, Gilad was already held in captivity for two and a half years, with no visits from the Red Cross, with no visits at all, and we did not know what state he was in. The first step I took, and we approved it here in the Government, was to get a video recording of Gilad, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw it. We saw that he was functioning, physically, mentally and cognitively. We saw that he was functioning well. We knew that he was healthy and that he was alive.  I regarded that tape as an insurance policy, because it obliged the Hamas before the international community to safeguard him, to keep him alive and maintain his health. But that was obviously only the first step.

The most important mission that we had was more challenging – to actually bring Gilad home. To that end we held long and tough negotiations through the German mediator. These negotiations were based on a framework outlined by the previous government. They were long and exhausting and despite all our efforts, a deal was not reached.

I must point out that not a day went by without us trying various ways to bring Gilad home, any way possible, and that didn’t work either. In the last few weeks, the negotiations were renewed in Cairo, this time with the Egyptian government as mediator. My instructions to the team were to adhere to the principles and framework that are important for the security of the State of Israel, which I will detail in the meeting.

There is an inbuilt tension between the desire to bring back an abducted soldier, or citizen, and the need to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel.  This is my dual responsibility as Prime Minister.

The deal I am bringing to the Government expresses the right balance between all of these considerations. I do not wish to hide the truth from you – it is a very difficult decision. I feel for the families of victims of terror, I appreciate their suffering and distress, I am one of them. But leadership must be examined at moments such as this, being able to make difficult, but right, decisions.

I believe that we have reached the best deal we could have at this time, when storms are sweeping the Middle East.  I do not know if in the near future we would have been able to reach a better deal or any deal at all. It is very possible that this window of opportunity, that opened because of the circumstances, would close indefinitely and we would never have been able to bring Gilad home at all.

Therefore, for all of these reasons, I instructed the team to put their initials on the deal last Thursday, and today it was finalized and signed by both sides. I thank my Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker, the Chief of the Shin Bet Yoram Cohen, my personal envoy to the negotiations, David Meidan and his predecessor Hagai Hadas. I thank the team that has accompanied them all these years.

I thank the IDF, the security forces for doing everything they could regarding Gilad Shalit. I also wish to thank the German mediator, and the Chancellor Angela Merkel who supported his mission all along. A send a special thanks to the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian Intelligence Services for providing much assistance in mediating and helping us reaching this agreement.

This morning I Invited Noam Shalit to my residence, and I spoke on the phone with the mother Aviva and the grandfather Zvi. I told them that I am keeping my promise and I’m bringing their son and grandson home. I told them, “I’m bringing your boy back.” I am happy that I succeeded in fulfilling the Jewish decree of redeeming captives, and if all goes as planned, Gilad will be back in Israel in the next few days with his family and his people.

The Nation of Israel is a unique people. We are all mutually responsible for each other, as our Sages said: “He who saves one soul, it is as though he saved an entire world.” Tonight, I bring the Government a proposal to save Gilad Shalit, to finally bring him home to Israel after five years.

10:45PM: Ynet adds:

The exchange would include Amina Mona, a young woman who lured a lovestruck Israeli teenage boy to a Palestinian city over the Internet, only to have him killed by waiting militants, according to Mohammed al-Barem, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the groups that captured Shalit. He gave no other names, but said it included 300 prisoners serving life sentences.

10:42PM: Among the terrorists reportedly to be released: Marwan Barghouti, the popular Fatah (according to Israeli reports, he will be required to accept exile from the West Bank), as well as Hamashole Abdullah Barghouti (no relation), serving 67 life sentences for building bombs used in suicide attacks.

10:40PM: More from the Hamas website:

Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas Political Bureau, said in a press conference, that the deal will be executed in two parts, the first part in a week and the second will be after two months.

The total number of the liberated detainees is 1027, he added.

Meshaal said that No Palestinian women will be in the Israeli Jails, all of them will liberate in the deal and their number is 27.

“This is a national achievement for the Palestinian people, we tried to include all Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails, and we promise the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them.”

“My words to the fathers and mothers who did not included in the deal, do not be sad, your sons will be liberated soon.”

“My Appreciations to Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian factions which managed to capture the Israeli soldier Shalit, My thanks to the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip and the West Bank for their steadfastness against the Israeli siege, also my thanks to the Egyptian role in accomplishing this deal.”

In the end he said “This deal is a national achievement, Palestinian people who accomplished this deal is capable to get more achievements as Right of Return and reconciliation etc.”

9:30PM: Hamas announces the deal on its web site:

Ezzedeen Al-Qassam, the military wing of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, announced that the detainees exchange deal has accomplished, the Brigades and Palestinian factions who participated in capturing Shalit announced that the deal will be within days.

The Brigades said in an exclusive press statement for Al Qassam website “An honorable exchange deal has accomplished, whereby Palestinian detainees will be freed for the release of the Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit.”

The Brigades also confirmed that the deal criteria accomplished for the first time in the history of the Palestinian resistance.

9:25PM: Recently retired blogger Challah points to a tweet by a BBC journalist indicating arch terrorist Marwan Barghouti is one of the 1000 to be freed.

24 thoughts on “BREAKING: Israel And Hamas Reach Gilad Shalit Prisoner Exchange Deal”

    1. Update: Meshal is currently giving a speech. He has said that deal is as follows: 1,000 prisoners + 27 women in two parts, 450 in first phase within one week, 2nd phase in 2 months with 550, All 27 women in Israeli jails will be released. No women will remain in Israeli jails., 315 prisoners who will be released were sentenced to life in jail in Israel, Some prisoners spent 34 years in jail, we concentrated on their release. They spent their youth in jail, important point, prisoners who will be released from Gaza, West Bank, Golan, Diaspora, we are all one. The capturing of the soldier was an accomplishment for all of us, a national accomplishment with God’s grace,

  1. I really hope this is not another false alarm. The Shalit family has suffered far too long. I would love to see him safely back in Israel.

  2. For all this time since Gilad Shilat was captured, officials have told us a full-scale assault on Gaza is being held off for fear of endangering him. If there is to be any silver lining to this debacle, of releasing hundreds of prisoners who not only have Jewish blood on their hands but wish to daub their hands in more (God forbid), can we assume that, after this deal, the restraints on the IDF will finally be removed?

    With today’s political “leaders” of ours, who fear world “opinion” and the International Marxist Kangaroo Court in the Hague more than they value Jewish lives, I honestly cannot express optimism. If the government does not follow up on such a prisoner deal with a ruthless, no-holds-barred military campaign to eradicate all Kassam rocket launchers and smuggling tunnels*, then it will be known that Israel’s current politicians are terminally unable to rise above the conventions of this sick age and stand up to their Jewish duty. Then only prayer could save us.

    *The Jewish mitzvah of expelling all the Arab settlers is really too much to expect. Leave it to Mashiah Tsidkenu…

  3. promise the rest will be released all that has to be done
    is to kidnap some more idf/any body from our streets men/women/children by any means any time any place any where
    i’m sorry i have said it before and my views are well known in israel among those who have spoken about gilad
    we can not give up so much for one person putting back on the streets those that have killed us and now will have a second chance to do so again
    when i was in the idf its one of the things spoken about and of course a very real fear one that my children were aware of when going/doing their duty to our home land
    i would not expect israel to give up so much for my release and would not want it and i know its easy to say i would not wish so much to be given up for the release of my children( and the other people who read/comment) my children would not want/wish it for them-selves/
    we are showing these people that they can demand any-thing and get it from us
    and now we are doing some-thing we said we would never do
    give in to terrorists.

  4. We have to bring Gilad home by any possible means. I think he has suffered for way too long to not try this opportunity.

    As to those scums that may be released, Israel will have another chance to capture or — better — to eliminate them. When Gilad is home, nothing will be stopping us from bombing Gaza thoroughly, once and for all.

    The worst enemy of Israel is the Israelis themselves, who fear that their actions against terrorists will do any harm to Israel. We must not hesitate to kill our enemies in any quantities, because that is what said in Torah.

    We must expel the invaders from our land.

    1. “When Gilad is home, nothing will be stopping us from bombing Gaza thoroughly, once and for all.”

      Nothing except our “leaders” fear of what the non-Jews might say or do.

      “We must not hesitate to kill our enemies in any quantities, because that is what said in Torah. … We must expel the invaders from our land.”

      Ah, there’s the rub. We had made the mistake of leaving the Arab settler-colonists on our lands both in 1948 (when we left some of them for “good behavior,” and now they are a seditious 20% minority within the pre-1967 borders) and 1967 (compounding it by leaving all the Arab settlers residing). Not to mention Dayan’s gesture to the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem.

      Had our leaders believed in the Torah rather than in international law, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Getting out of this mess is, similarly, contingent upon abandoning the laws of the non-Jews (which are perfectly OK for the non-Jews) and returning to the Torah.

  5. @unplugged greetings.
    by releasing more than 1000 murders rapests drug/gun runners/bomb makers/carriers and worse once they have had their parties they will be back with their radical friends being able to make daily hate speechers and be in an even better position to carry weight among the already wound up people who will use any excuse to cause problems with us and now because of the release of these people it will give hamas and friends further fuel to make even greater demands while they pick their next kidnap targets what do we give them then?
    also it would take many years to get them back in jail even if we could and what demands will be made each time we put a new one in prison
    also you can see the way things are not just in israel but around the world for us beleive me i have to listen to it we can not just as much as i would like bomb the living day lights out of them(james bond i think jim)
    so its a huge mistake one that i expect another gamble is being taken by this action.

    1. There are millions of terrorists and murderers in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. A thousand more or a thousand less doesn’t really matter.

      The only thing I am afraid of is that those savages may return Gilad while not alive, or not return him at all.

      We must act tough. When we are being fired at, we must fire back thousandfold. With Arabs, it only works like this.

  6. Gee, I actually thought this was a good-news story. You know, the kind of story that brings people together and lifts everyone’s spirits. I guess I’ll have to go back to watching You Tube videos of baby chimps doing sumersaults and people dressing up their pets in funny Halloween costumes.

    1. jim i hope you are not speaking about our goverment
      when you speak of sumersaults even though i am unhappy about their circus act
      mind you i think the saying is if you pay peanuts you get the monkeys i hope they have a few tricks up their sleves if not we are all in the elephant dung.

  7. This is madness!

    Sure, the solder has suffered but this is complete suicide for Israel. How can people here even think about promoting this unjust deal?!

    You will release 1000 Palestinian prisoners! 1000! With over a quarter of them serving a life sentences and a significant fraction being Hamas operatives. All for a single soldier who knows the risk of his job.

    My God this is crazy.

    Israel, expect humiliation and the kidnappings to increase without end following this.

  8. Unbelievable. Netanyahu is no better than a kapo and sold our people for one man. The people who think Gaza will be carpet bombed now are delusional. We have pussy leaders who, if they ever read Never Again, forgot all about it.

  9. I check this site only from time to time, especially when muslims in the Middle East follow their religion to the book and start killing more people than usual.

    My 2 cents: after all those 1000 terrorists and murderers are freed, Shalit will be either killed or kept as a bargain chip for the future.

    Also, in the improbable event that Shalit is released unharmed, I would like to know how the death of many innocents will be justified when those 1000 will start killing again.

    You Israelis never learn… maybe in the future when you’re pursuing murderers you will kill them instead of feeding them for 30 years hoping to get some questionable intelligence from them.

    1. “You Israelis never learn…”

      Not so. The majority of Israeli Jews think as you do, that it’s a better deal to take no prisoners in the first place.

      The thing is: Since when did the left-leaning establishment—in Israel, in the U.S. of A., in Europe, in short everywhere, maintaining virtual power even when the government is officially right-wing, by means of its ownership of the media outlets and education centers—ever allow the common-sense thoughts of the populace to actually form the basis of policymaking?

      We have a problem. We all have a problem. And we all have the same problem. Whether you’re an American or a European, you have the exact same problem we Israeli Jews do.

      Dave and all: Happy Sukkot!

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